Big grant from Big Lottery

Our project to build peace in war-torn Congo will receive one of the Big Lottery Fund’s largest grants for international development work

Former-Child-Soldiers-at-Transit-Camp-27.04.09-sqOur project to build peace in war-torn Congo will receive one of the Big Lottery Fund’s largest grants for international development work, announced on 14 July.  The grant of almost half a million pounds will go towards stabilising an area in eastern DR Congo prone to high levels of armed violence, where poverty and lawlessness have bred a vicious guerilla war deep in the rainforest.

The project will directly affect 3,500 civilians and indirectly impact 66,500 in the provinces of North Kivu and Oriental – the epicentre of a bush war. The project aims to tackle the underlying causes of violence and conflict, by retraining disruptive ex-combatants, generating sustainable jobs in farming co-operatives and small businesses, and spreading the impact via interactive radio clubs that can reach far into the bush.

Big Lottery Fund has awarded £469,658 to Peace Direct to finance the project. The money will cover four years for:

  • Identifying and retraining 300 persistently disruptive young men, most of whom are ex-combatants from the rebel militias failing to settle into civilian life. They will be given personal retraining, plus manual work (such as road building or market building) which will improve local economic infrastructure and encourage behavioural change.
  • Creating 50 farming co-operatives, including capital set-up and training for 1,500 villagers, which will lift participants over the global average poverty threshold of $2 a day. Poverty is a major cause of instability and long-term conflict, and this will help tackle these underlying factors for local violence.
  • Providing micro-loans for 500 village women who have been affected by armed conflict: they will be assisted to set up small businesses such as market trading or soap making, which will give them a living help stabilise their families and communities.
  • Creating 40 radio clubs, known as Community Mobilisation Groups, which share information across the region on topics such as farming techniques or community development.

On the ground the project will be led by our local partner Centre Resolution Conflits, a Congolese peacebuilding organisation that specialises in stabilising and strengthening local communities affected by issues including child soldiers, militia violence, resettlement of ex-combatants, poverty and sexual violence. CRC has worked with Peace Direct since 2005 and is now consulted by local UN peacekeeping forces. It is an outstanding example of the impact and expertise of local peacebuilding organisations in conflict zones.

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